The Riddle of the Day: When is a goodwill not a goodwill?

The answer: When it is not good enough.

Let me illustrate the answer with the latest news on SMRT's goodwill of $15,000 to a 15-year-old Thai girl who lost both her legs after falling onto the MRT tracks in Ang Mo Kio. SMRT has clarified that S$5,000 was offered to Nitcharee's father, Mr Kittanesh Pen-eakchanasak at the end of May and earlier another S$10,000 was offered to Nitcharee's family to travel to Singapore when Nitcharee was still in hospital.

Apparently the 'goodwill' money which is never meant as compensation is not good enough. And thus, SMRT was sued for $3.4M!

RAIL operator SMRT on Monday broke its silence on how it has helped the Thai teenager who lost both her legs after landing on an MRT track and being hit by a train.

The father of 15-year-old Nitcharee Peneakchanasak, Mr Kittanesh Peneakchanasak, 56, is suing SMRT for negligence on her behalf.

SMRT had earlier declined to comment on media reports that quoted Mr Peneakchanasak as expressing disappointment over the $5,000 he said the rail operator had offered as compensation. Relating what had happened so far, SMRT said that following the incident on April 3, it immediately began looking at how it could help Nitcharee and her family.

'We were mindful of the special circumstances surrounding the case: A young girl who was alone in Singapore was seriously hurt, and needed her family by her side as she sought to overcome the trauma and recuperate.'

To facilitate her family travelling to Singapore to be with her, SMRT said it offered 'an initial financial support' of $10,000 to cover the expenses incurred during their journey and stay here. 'Our help was meant to be a goodwill gesture, not compensation,' it said. It added that this was clearly indicated to the father in their meeting and he 'accepted our offers of help'.

Following an appeal by him through the Thai Embassy for further help, SMRT provided a further assistance of $5,000 at the end of last month, it said.

From Straits Times, "SMRT: $15,000 given to family as goodwill aid".

SMRT has clarified that the money offered to a 15-year-old Thai girl who lost both her legs after falling onto the MRT tracks in Ang Mo Kio was a gesture of goodwill and not compensation.

The transport company said compensation would only be made after police have concluded their investigations.

SMRT said S$5,000 was offered to Nitcharee's father, Mr Kittanesh Pen-eakchanasak at the end of May.

It had made known to both the Thai Embasy and Mr Kittanesh that the offer was only a gesture of goodwill, it added.

Hence, it was surprised that reports had quoted Mr Kittanesh as considering the money as compensation.

SMRT said another S$10,000 was offered to Nitcharee's family to travel to Singapore when Nitcharee was still in hospital.

This, it said, was also a gesture of goodwill.

From Channel NewsAsia, "S$5,000 offered to Thai amputee not compensation: SMRT".

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